Dark Armpits? Here’s How You Can Lighten Them Up

Our armpits are rarely the focus of beauty attention. Most women shave them quickly in the shower, then spray on some deodorant and move on to other, supposedly more important, areas. We forget that armpits not only represent an erogenous zone, but also quickly appear unkempt or unshaven with dark shadows.

But why do our armpits change color at all? And what can we do about it? In this article we explain everything you need to know about dark armpits – and how to lighten them up again.

Lighten Dark Armpits: Why Are My Armpits Dark?

First of all, it is good to know that dark armpits are what is known as hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is a dermatological term for stubborn spots on the skin’s surface. They are caused by a disruption in the pigmentation process, in which the pigment melanin, which is responsible for the natural color of the skin, is overproduced in certain areas. In the armpits, this discoloration is more diffuse and less reminiscent of typical pigment spots.

By the way: If you generally have darker skin, your armpits tend to be darker, also due to the higher production of melanin. The causes of dark armpits are therefore: diverse. In the next section, we want to present you with possible other reasons that lead to dark armpits in addition to the genetic cause.

Dark Armpits Cause #1: Shaving

The number one cause of dark armpits is shaving. Because when you shave, you only remove your visible hair on the surface, while the hair roots remain intact. This is problematic because it can optically compress your hair follicles, making your armpit skin appear darker. In addition, shaving itself leads to irritation and micro-injuries to your skin. Especially if you don’t do them properly or apply too much pressure.

This irritation, in turn, can lead to increased melanin production in the affected area, which also leads to darker spots. In addition, you should also avoid using dull blades or shaving your skin too often, as this further increases the likelihood of dark spots.

Dark Armpits Cause #2: Certain deodorants and antiperspirants

Products that you like to use for your armpit hygiene usually contain allergy-causing compounds like alcohol or perfume. It is best to study the exact ingredients of your favorite care products to rule out this cause. This is because they have the potential to irritate your most sensitive areas of skin, causing inflammation. When your body overreacts to the irritants, it can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which makes your armpits appear darker.

So when choosing your deodorants and antiperspirants, pay attention to skin-friendly formulations that do not contain any irritating ingredients.

Also Read: Scars, Can They Be Completely Removed? Keys To Make Them As Little Noticeable As Possible

Dark Armpits Cause #3: Illness

In rare cases, dark armpits are a warning sign of a condition like diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In people with diabetes, for example, there is often a change in the skin’s metabolism, which leads to an increased accumulation of melanin in certain areas of the skin. This in turn causes dark, thickened and velvety-looking areas of skin in the armpits, but also on other parts of the body such as the neck, groin or knees.

But polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and darker armpits can also be related. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects your hormone balance and leads to a range of symptoms. One of the possible side effects of PCOS is an increased production of male hormones, especially testosterone. This hormonal imbalance can, in turn, lead to increased melanin production in certain areas of the skin—including the armpits.

If you notice signs of diabetes or PCOS, it is always advisable to see a doctor.

Dark Armpits Cause #4: Friction

The underarm region is naturally prone to friction – after all, we move our arms and sometimes wear tight shirts and jackets. In the worst case scenario, this very friction can cause your outermost layer of skin – the epidermis – to thicken and accumulate dead skin cells laden with melanin. This will make your armpit skin darker.

We have now learned about the four most common causes of dark armpits: shaving, certain deodorants, illness and friction. But what can you specifically do about the problem once it has occurred?

In addition to a number of home remedies, there are two effective cosmetic remedies against dark armpits that we would like to introduce to you in detail: laser treatment and waxing.

Lighten dark armpits: laser

The best option to lighten your dark armpits is laser hair removal . The procedure not only offers you long-lasting hair removal, but also helps to reduce the dark discoloration in your armpits. The type of laser hair removal is determined by the type of laser – i.e. by the wavelength of the light with which the device works. There are alexandrite, diode and Nd:YAG lasers. At Sanft & Schön, we only use a 3-wave diode laser that can be set to wavelengths of 755 nm, 808 nm or 1064 nm. This is ideal for reaching deep-seated hair follicles.

Back to your dark armpits. During laser treatment with our diode laser, high-energy light pulses are directed at your hair follicles in the armpits, causing them to be selectively destroyed. This not only inhibits your hair growth, but also specifically attacks the excess melanin, which is responsible for the dark coloring.

The result: with each session, your hair will become thinner and less visible, while your skin will gradually appear lighter and more even.

Good to know: Permanent laser hair removal is usually safe and effective, but requires multiple sessions. Before your laser hair removal, please also refrain from anything that irritates your skin. For example peelings, sun exposure or alternative methods of hair removal such as waxing, epilation or depilatory creams. In this article you will find everything you need to know about laser hair removal preparation .

Lighten dark armpits immediately: waxing

In addition to permanent laser hair removal, waxing also offers a remedy for unsightly, dark armpits. What many people don’t know: The popular procedure not only offers long-lasting hair removal, but also helps to lighten your dark discoloration in your armpits.

During waxing, a special wax mixture is applied to the skin and pulled off with a quick jerk, removing the hair and its roots. This process not only gets rid of your dark hair, but also gently exfoliates the top layer of skin, which can result in skin lightening.

Incidentally, we at Sanft & Schön use a quick-drying film wax, which is particularly pleasant on your skin due to its relatively low application temperature, opens pores and thus helps to make your treatment less painful.

The result: smooth, hair-free armpits – and a reduction in dark discolouration. For an optimal result , care after waxing is also important!

Lighten armpits: conclusion

Whatever you decide, you should definitely avoid shaving dark axes. Better to resort to one of the two tried and true options for lightening dark armpits: laser hair removal — and waxing.

While laser treatment directs high-energy pulses of light at hair follicles to selectively destroy them and target excess melanin, waxing not only removes your hair but also gently exfoliates the top layer of skin, resulting in a lightening of your armpits.

Both methods offer you long-lasting results, we carry out both methods in our studio in Berlin Mitte. Ultimately, you should choose the procedure that best suits your needs and preferences to lighten dark armpits – and enjoy smooth, lightened skin all summer long.

Also Read: Causes Of Dark Circles And Their Treatment

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